Home » Simpson not coaching but will say goodbye to fans; Swans to appeal Heeney decision; McStay to play VFL

Simpson not coaching but will say goodbye to fans; Swans to appeal Heeney decision; McStay to play VFL

Simpson not coaching but will say goodbye to fans; Swans to appeal Heeney decision; McStay to play VFL

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful support I have enjoyed from our members and fans over the last 11 years,” Simpson said.

“They have been fantastic from the day I arrived and have stuck with us.

“It’s easy to rock up every week when things are humming along, but through the challenging times over the last three years they continued to come and support us. They’re the best.”

Despite a wretched three seasons during which the club has won just eight of its past 60 matches, Simpson departs with a winning record of 50.62 per cent having led them to the 2018 flag and into the 2015 grand final.

West Coast had to play the 2015 grand final at the MCG after finishing in top spot and defeating Hawthorn in the qualifying final.

Simpson is also a dual premiership player at North Melbourne. He was contracted until the end of 2025 and is expected to receive a payout of about $1 million.

Swans to appeal Heeney decision

Peter Ryan, Jonathan Drennan
Sydney will challenge the tribunal decision to uphold Isaac Heeney’s one-match ban, keeping alive the star’s hopes of remaining eligible for the Brownlow Medal.

Swans star Isaac Heeney.

Swans star Isaac Heeney.Credit: AFL Photos

The club unsuccessfully argued at the tribunal on Tuesday night that Heeney had accidentally “swatted” Saint Jimmy Webster’s hands away to stop the defender from holding him as part of “forward craft”, rather than intentionally striking his opponent.

Heeney also stated that he was unable to see Webster as he was focused on getting away from being held to create enough distance to receive the ball from teammate Justin McInerney.

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“It’s forward craft to try and get that separation,” Heeney said.

“So I’m looking to swat his hands away and knowing that he’s got two hands on me at this stage. I need obviously to get a hand off me as best I can … so I’m looking to swat his hand.”

Swans counsel Duncan Miller, SC, argued that Heeney’s actions were completely inconsistent with an intentional strike, given he immediately expressed concern for his opponent, who suffered a bloody nose in the incident.

AFL tribunal chairman Jeff Gleeson, KC, and the panel ultimately disagreed, stating: “The swing of Heeney’s arm was forceful and it was more than a swatting motion, having looked carefully at the vision, we find that it falls comfortably within the language of clause 4.3b of the guidelines in that he was intending to forcefully push or fend off Webster, to gain separation for the purpose of contesting the ball … We are not satisfied that he intended only to make contact with Webster’s head.”

Heeney’s contact with Webster was originally graded as intentional, high and low-impact. If the appeal, which will be heard on Thursday evening, is unsuccessful, Heeney will miss the Swans’ clash against North Melbourne on Saturday.

Under AFL guidelines, a tribunal decision can be appealed on one of the following points:

  • Error of law that has a material impact on the decision of the tribunal;
  • That the decision was so unreasonable that no tribunal acting reasonably could have come to that decision having regard to the evidence before it;
  • Classification of offence manifestly excessive or inadequate;
  • Sanction imposed manifestly excessive or inadequate.

McStay to return from ACL injury after eight months

Danny Russell
Collingwood’s forward stocks have been given a massive boost with confirmation that Dan McStay will return for the Magpies’ VFL team this Saturday, eight months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.

Dan McStay will return via the VFL this weekend.

Dan McStay will return via the VFL this weekend.Credit: AFL Photos

McStay, 28, strained his MCL during Collingwood’s gutsy preliminary final win over Greater Western Sydney, cruelly ruling him out of the premiership-winning side.

He then suffered a devastating setback in November when he ruptured his ACL.

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The Magpies announced on Wednesday that McStay would play in their VFL side’s match against Geelong at Victoria Park on Saturday after completing his rehabilitation.

“He’s been out for eight months, and it is a great testament to how hard he has worked to get his chance to come back and play. We are really happy for him,” Collingwood coach Craig McRae said.

“Funnily enough for the last two months, it was like, ‘Gee, he looks like he is ready to play’. He is so strong, and a testament to our high-performance team.”

McRae said they were not willing to compromise McStay’s comeback by selecting him at AFL level this weekend.

“We didn’t want to waver from the plan. To play 40 minutes of football at AFL potentially, it is not where we are at,” McRae said.

“Just because we have a need at the minute at AFL, I just think that we’ve set this young lad up to perform well, and to get him to go out and get some minutes, and then we’ll see where we are at from there.”

McStay’s return comes as a welcome boost for the injury-hit Magpies after key forward Brody Mihocek ruptured his pectoral tendon against Essendon and was ruled out for the next 10 to 12 weeks.

The Magpies will consider a number of changes ahead of Friday night’s clash against Geelong with John Noble returning from concussion and Jamie Elliott to be assessed.

Collingwood will also assess Oleg Markov (adductor) and Isaac Quaynor (toe), who suffered minor injuries in round 17.

Pie Carmichael retires due to concussion

Amelia Nordio
Collingwood forward Josh Carmichael has retired at just 24, the latest player to have his career cut short due to concussion issues.

The Magpies announced on Wednesday morning that Carmichael, a 2022 mid-season draftee who played only eight games at senior level, had been forced into retirement after a recent assessment by the independent medical panel convened by the AFL.

Josh Carmichael has retired at just 24.

Josh Carmichael has retired at just 24.Credit: AFL Photos

Carmichael sustained a head knock in the VFL against Southport in May and had not returned to training since as he continued to suffer from concussion symptoms.

“The past couple of months have been a difficult and uncertain time for me, but I have comfort now knowing the direction of my future, and disappointingly that is not playing Australian football,”
Carmichael said.

“Footy has been a huge part of my sporting life over the years and I have loved being part of the Collingwood Football Club, but my priority is on my future and ensuring I live a full and healthy life.”

Carmichael is the fourth AFL player this year to retire due to concussion related issues and the second from Collingwood. Nathan Murphy retired earlier in 2024 after suffering 10 concussions in his career including during last year’s grand final, when he was subbed out of the match during the first quarter. Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw and Bulldog Aiden O’Driscoll are the two others who have pulled the pin on the football careers based on medical advice.

“Josh’s welfare, like the welfare of all our people, has remained paramount and we commend Josh for his maturity in managing what has been a challenging time,” Pies football manager Brendon Bolton said.

“Even though Josh will no longer be a part of our AFL program, it is important that as a club we continue to offer medical support to Josh as he transitions into the next phase of his life.

“Josh is an intelligent, dedicated and hard-working young man, who has shared two years of his life with our program, and we are better for it. Having worn the black and white stripes, Josh will always be a Collingwood player.”

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